Boom! Thump! Thump, thump, thump… I managed to maintain control of the rig and eased to a stop. I was on the Natchez Trace Parkway (more details on the Parkway journey coming soon) which is a two lane road with no breakdown lane.
Unfortunately I was forced to simply stop in the road blocking the northbound lane. Fortunately, I was in a straight section of the road providing visibility to approaching cars. It was a gray and dreary day and even through the drizzling rain I could see the majority of one of my tires about a quarter mile behind me on the road.
RV Flat Tire
Yep, a tire blowout. There was not much rubber left on the rim on the right rear axle tire on my fifth wheel trailer. I had just topped off my tires with air after being parked for two weeks while volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in Mandeville, Louisiana.
About an hour before the blowout, I had stopped for fuel and completed a visual inspection of my tires. The road was relatively smooth and no potholes or rough surfaces.
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““Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” — Mark Twain
AAA Plus RV
I was feeling good about my decision to have AAA Plus RV, that includes coverage for my trailer. The conversationwith the AAA dispatcher started with – are you at home or work? Luckily I knew where I was along the road so I could provide a mile marker but I was not near a major city. We gradually narrowed the field to the closest service provider that could respond.
I carry a full size spare for my trailer in the front basement compartment. To access the spare tire requires me to first disconnect my pickup truck from my fifth wheel trailer. Then I need to remove some of the items I have stored in that compartment to reach the spare tire.
So there I sit blocking half the road and my truck disconnected from the trailer. There are no commercial vehicles permitted on the Natchez Trace, so the AAA driver actually had to call and get permission to travel down the Trace to my location. Two hours later at about 5:00pm and nearly dark, the spare was on the trailer and I limped into a campground that was just six miles from where my tire blew.
Feeling really fortunate that I was driving slow when the tire blew and that I was able to maintain control and safely stop while staying on the road. I was glad to see there was minimal damage to the wheel well, as the rubber tread exploding off the rim can cause a lot of damage. I took the 4G cell phone reception for granted as reaching out to AAA and the subsequent updates were a breeze. It was not until I drive the six mile to the campground and had zero reception that I garnered an appreciation for having phone service where the tire blew.
The next morning I cruised towards Jackson, Mississippi and cell phone service before stopping to locate a tire dealer that (1) had the trailer tire in stock, (2) had available time to do the switch without an appointment, and (3) had a facility accessible with a 36-foot trailer and also had the heavy duty lift equipment to change the tire.
Got a new tire on the rim and had it put on the trailer and the spare removed. By ten in the morning I was all set and back on the road again. I learned that a tire blowout is merely a minor obstacle and certainly nothing that will detract from my overall journey.